Definition of Free KPI Dashboards
Free KPI dashboards are software platforms designed to present data in the form resembling a dashboard. Free KPI dashboards are often sought out by smaller organizations seeking to benefit form the use of KPI dashboards without having to bear the cost often associated with dashboard software. While in the past free KPI dashboards were the only real alternative for businesses that could not afford to spend hundreds of thousands, if not potentially millions, there are alternatives now available that make the risks associated with free KPI dashboards not worth the price of admission.
Finding Free KPI Dashboards
The first step to using free KPI dashboards is to identify software platforms that allow you to build free KPI dashboards. While there are a number of possibilities there are really only two options that for the most part can be considered viable. The first is free KPI dashboards through the use of open-source software. Like all open source software, dashboard software for the creation of free KPI dashboards can be either purchased or it can be made available in a free form. The challenge of course is that the free software is always more difficult to use and does not have any associated support structure that comes with the non free version.
Benefits of Free KPI Dashboards
The single biggest benefit of free KPI dashboards is the low cost of acquisition. Once a user factors in the costs of finding the free KPI dashboards as well as the costs associated with learning the platforms used for the free KPI dashboards the actual acquisition costs turn out to be significantly higher than expected. Other benefits of free KPI dashboards are often difficult to identify since in the long run using free KPI dashboards has significant drawbacks for any organization.
Drawbacks of Free KPI Dashboards
The biggest drawbacks of free KPI dashboards are associated with the cost of deploying and cost of using the free KPI dashboards. Because free KPI dashboards are almost always made available without any support and with little if any documentation, companies often struggle with understanding the free KPI dashboards and with implementing them properly. Beyond the difficulty in deploying and using free KPI dashboards there are also drawbacks in keeping the free KPI dashboards updated since developers of free KPI dashboards often don't update their platforms as frequently as commercial developers.
Alternatives to Free KPI Dashboards
The original driving force behind free KPI dashboards was the high cost of acquiring enterprise-grade kpi dashboard software from the likes of cognos or business objects. Over the past few years, however, new platforms have become available from companies like EMANIO that bring the power of enterprise-grade KPI dashboards at prices that, once you factor the hidden costs of free KPI dashboards, provide a far better long-term value than free KPI dashboards. These new platforms are becoming very popular especially in sub-enterprise organizations.